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Tapas: Sensational Small Plates From Spain Paperback – May 13, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Goldstein, author of Antipasti and Italian Slow and Savory, ably whittles down the expansive gastronomy of Spain into a worthy, compact cookbook. Instead of attempting an impossible feat—to include every component of the Spanish table in a glossy, chic nutshell—she wisely chooses the best of each dish, starting with five basic sauces that can be applied to the seafood, meat, vegetable and egg recipes that follow. Though a few dishes are larger than a typical small-plate (Asturian white bean stew or paprika-marinated pork tenderloin, for example), Goldstein stays true to the fundamental procedures and ingredients used in modern Spanish kitchens. Salty, spicy and sweet, Goldstein offers innovative tapas, showcasing the best of each of Spain's diverse regions. Each recipe comes with wine pairings, both Spanish and non-Spanish, and the book begins with a clever rundown of Spain's history, cheeses, cured meats and fish. While some recipes might seem daunting for beginners (cleaning squid or handling a whole octopus), there is also an entire chapter dedicated to œShop-and-Serve Tapas that require little to no preparation. With vibrant photos and straightforward instructions, this book has all the makings of a reliable source of fun, crowd-pleasing ideas for the contemporary cook. (June)
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About the Author

Joyce Goldstein is a renowned chef, author, and teacher. She has traveled extensively in Spain and published several Mediterranean cookbooks. She lives in San Francisco.

Leigh Beisch has photographed for many Chronicle cookbooks, including Holiday Baking and Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (May 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811862984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811862981
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #848,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By H. Grove (errantdreams) TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
The book starts off with interesting history regarding regional cuisine, various ingredients, and so on. It suggests which ingredients you might be more likely to find in American grocery stores these days, versus the ones you'll have to go online to find.

One chapter explains the concept of "shop-and-serve" tapas: things you can throw together after a quick shopping trip for the right ingredients. Fried Marcona almonds or marinated olives would be a good example, or stuffed eggs. My one problem with the cookbook crops up here. I know the stuffed eggs don't take many ingredients, but it's still easier to make sure you get everything you need if those ingredients are listed out separately rather than woven into paragraphs of instruction. On the other hand, here you'll also find a cookbook technique I like: often a single recipe will include a handful of variations. For instance, the piquillos rellenos (stuffed piquillo peppers) recipe offers five different stuffings.

There's also an entire chapter for eggs, fritters, and savory pastries (yum!). There are several varieties of omelet, and ham and cheese croquettes that can easily be varied until you find your favorite combination of ingredients. There are shrimp fritters, empanadas and empanadillas with a variety of fillings, Majorcan flat bread with a couple of optional toppings.

The vegetables chapter includes the absolutely wonderful "fierce" potatoes (patatas bravas); this is one of the first fried potato recipes I've found that actually makes potatoes soft inside and crispy outside (perfect!). The sauce that goes with it is delightfully spicy, with a tart and surprising flavor. You'll find chickpeas with spinach, garlicky fried mushrooms, Andalusian style asparagus, sausage-stuffed mushrooms, and more.
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Format: Paperback
I lived in Spain for a year and I can tell you that these recipes (and information) faithfully represent tapas as it is served in a variety of regions of Spain. I bought this book while living there and the recipes turn out pretty much like the food you enjoy in restaurants in Spain (perhaps better because tapas often sits out on a counter for a while before you get to enjoy it). An earlier reviewer complained that there are recipes for "main dishes" and that dividing a main dish into small portions does not make it "tapas." However, the reviewer is incorrect about this. Tapas are small plates, as indicated by the title of the book. The northern region of Spain does serve "pinxos" which are beautifully crafted two- or three-bite servings of tasty things layered on bread-- I think many people mistakenly think of these as "tapas" but Spaniards make a distinction (especially people in the Basque region of northern Spain). The author does provide a long list of ideas for combinations that make good pinxos and I've used these ideas very successfully for parties.

My husband and I eat a heavily vegetarian diet and there are a number of good vegetable recipes and the poultry recipes adapt well to using Qorn chik'n substitute products.

To give you an idea of how good this book is, I ordered 10 copies to give to friends as gifts after I returned from Spain because it represented so well the beautiful food we got to enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
Even if you know nothing about Joyce Goldstein's impressive resume, you have only to read the introduction of this book to realize this is a master work by a master chef. Tapas is a term used freely these days, but in this book, you will learn what authentic tapas are. The best news? Many of the recipes are ridiculously easy and quick to prepare. Also included is a "Shop & Serve" selection of tapas, a great way to round out two or three special tapas. Don't miss the sizzling garlic shrimp, the deceptively simple but incredibly delicious spinach with raisins and pine nuts, chorizo stuffed mushrooms and the griddled clams with green sauce. This would be a great book for a gourmet group or a book club to use for a tapas night. Directions are concise and easy to follow. The photography will leave you drooling and eager to make these recipes. A must-have book.
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I purchased this book sight unseen on the basis of reviews that I read. Upon receipt it proved to be a profound disappointment. My disappointment is such that this is the first time that I make an effort to write a review on Amazon.

To start with, from an organizational standpoint, the titles of all of the recipes are in Spanish, with the English language equivalent appearing thereunder. Recipes continuing on more than one page are titled only in Spanish. While this is annoying in general, it is extremely disadvantageous when you come to the chapter indicies, as the English language name equivalents are very difficult to read. This affectation is nonsensical in a book otherwise written in English and intended for an English reading audience.

The choice of recipes is likewise disappointing. Tapas are suppose to be small plates, often finger-foods. A large number of these recipes are more suitable for first courses, main courses and side dishes to main meals -- anything but Tapas. Taking a general recipe and dividing it into small portions does not make it Tapas.

I own eight recipe books on the subject of Tapas. This is the one that I will use the least.
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